Lessons We Can All Learn From Rupert Murdoch’s PR Disaster

Rupert Murdoch is a media mogul - but he's proved he certainly is not a master when it comes to communications.

His management of the crisis engulfing News International and News Corporation has been an unmitigated disaster…until the last few days when he switched into apology mode.

He got it wrong in the first place by not coming clean about phone tapping and illegal journalistic practices.

He got it wrong by refusing to sack his CEO Rebekah Brooks. He got it wrong by giving a blustering interview to the Wall Street Journal and he should have accepted the first opportunity to face his accusers in the House of Commons.

His biggest mistake, however, was forgetting the first rule of crisis management - when in the wrong, put your hands up, say you're sorry and tell the public how you're going to fix it.

These actions should, at the same time, be accompanied with a genuine demonstration of humility.

It looks as if Mr Murdoch is now beginning to get his PR act in gear. He has made two public apologies via newspaper adverts and he has set up a fund to compensate victims of the scandal.

The question is - is it too little too late?

Time will tell but I reckon the biggest threat to the Murdoch empire will not be the British Parliament, the police or the UK and US authorities.

The No1 threat, I believe, will come from his own shareholders. They have seen their shares tumble in value because of inept crisis management.

I see them forcing the greatest media emperor of his generation into a sad and frustrated retirement.

I hope for Rupert Murdoch's sake it does not happen. He will not take kindly to pruning the roses.  

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